The Kapp Putsch

Causes and effects of the Kapp Putsch of March 1920.


The Kapp Putsch


  • General von Luttwitz demanded dissolution of Reichstag and called for elections in response to army cuts.
  • Began scheming with Wolfgang Kapp.
  • Defence Minister Noske ordered several units to disband, including a brigade which had been responsible for crushing the Spartacist Revolt and suppressing a Bavarian communist uprising.
  • Viewed as a stab in the back - Noske had used them and hung them out to dry.


  • 412 officers were implicated but only 48 were fired and only 1 faced imprisonment.
  • General strike paralysed Berlin - no water, gas, electricity, public transport, or newspapers.
  • Members of parliament fled Berlin in fear for their safety.
  • Kapp resigned and he, accompanied by Luttwitz, fled to Sweden.
  • Left-wing politicians were angry that supporters had been let off lightly and made many demands - removal of anti-republican elements within Weimar, creation of a new republican army, a range of economic reforms, and a truly socialist government.

Overall summary

The Putsch was mistimed, badly planned and lacking in support. The supporters were united only by a common desire to overthrow the government but with no plan on how to do so and without any worthwhile or sustainable policies. For them, gaining power was the be all and end all.


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